Requesting an Open Meeting Law Advisory Opinion
The Commissioner of Administration has authority to issue non-binding advisory opinions on certain issues related to the Open Meeting Law (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13D). A $200 fee is required after the Commissioner accepts your request. The Data Practices Office handles matters relating to advisory opinions and prepares drafts on behalf of the Commissioner.
- A public body subject to the Open Meeting law (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13D) can request an opinion relating to the body’s duties under Chapter 13D. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.072, subdivision 1(b).) The Commissioner will not accept an opinion from a member of a governing body when the dispute is between or among members of the body.
- A person who disagrees with the manner in which members of a governing body perform their Chapter 13D duties can request an opinion. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.072, subdivision 1(b).)
The Commissioner will not accept an opinion request in which the issues giving rise to the request no longer are timely. Advisory opinions are based upon the written record provided to the Commissioner. The Commissioner does not have fact-finding authority, and our process does not allow for rebuttals. Therefore, please provide a complete explanation of your disagreement and all relevant documentation.
To make a request
- Write (email or letter) to the Commissioner of Administration, c/o Data Practices Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320 Centennial Office Building, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155.
- State that you are requesting an advisory opinion.
- Explain the facts briefly. Provide a clear, concise statement of your position and provide an analysis of the issue(s). State the issue(s) you want the Commissioner to address.
- Provide copies of any related documentation or correspondence, including citations to any relevant statutes, rules, or case law.
- Please let us know if you are or have been involved in litigation relating to the open meeting law issue. The Commissioner will not accept an opinion request on an issue that is currently in court or has been the subject of a judge's order or decision.
- The Commissioner does not accept anonymous opinion requests.
- Do not submit payment until we confirm with you that the Commissioner will accept your opinion request.
Upon receiving your request, the Commissioner will evaluate it
- The Commissioner’s authority to issue advisory opinions is permissive. This means the Commissioner has the right to refuse your opinion request. If the Commissioner rejects your opinion request, we will send you a letter within five business days.
- If the Commissioner needs more information to move forward with your opinion request, we will contact you.
- If the Commissioner accepts your request, we will send you a confirmation letter.
- After receiving the confirmation letter, submit your check payable to the Department of Administration/Data Practices.
- While we respond to all formal advisory opinion requests in some manner, we can resolve many of the requests outside the formal opinion request process in a more expedient way. In the majority of situations, we are able to provide specific guidance in an email or letter, direct the opinion requester to prior advisory opinions on the requested topic, and/or provide informal resolution services by contacting government entities to resolve disputes.
Please contact us before submitting an opinion request if you have questions as to whether the Commissioner has authority to address your concerns. This will give us a chance to discuss the issues in question with you and determine whether they fall within the Commissioner's authority, and specify the information/documentation we will need as part of the opinion request.